armed forces memorial

UNITED KINGDOM, London : A member of the armed forces with prosthetic legs pays his respects at the Armed Forces Memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum on Armistice Day near Lichfield, Staffordshire, central England, on November 11, 2014. In services around the country tributes were paid to the millions of British servicemen and women who have died in conflict since the start of the First World War 100 years ago. November 11 marks Armistice Day, the day on which a ceasefire came into effect in 1918 that ended the First World War on the Western Front. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF

This weekend, I am grateful for all the men and women who have served in our armed forces to keep our country safe and free. There is always something of themselves sacrificed, as the song says, ‘All gave some, some gave all’.  

Sending all the love, gratitude and prayers to those who have served and those still serving in hopes that you know that the sacrifice you and your loved ones have made or are making, is deeply appreciated by this American, for one.

I know ‘thank you’ isn’t enough, but thank you.

Today, all across the land of the free, we honor the men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces. Memorials like the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC seen here, ensure that we will never forget their sacrifice. Thank you, veterans. Photo courtesy of Nathan Jones.
Watch Full Episodes Online of TED Talks on PBS | Coming to PBS: TED Talks: War and Peace

Men and women who have experienced every aspect of war look at the devastating impact of war in our world. The program includes veteran-turned-actor Adam Driver revealing his passion for the arts and the armed forces. 

Award-winning journalist and filmmaker Sebastian Junger examines the tribal nature of war and why the U.S. has higher rates of PTSD than many other countries.

This is a powerful, private photo I felt like sharing on this Memorial Day. My Tata has dementia, but he hasn’t forgotten his war stories. I can see the haze in his eyes during every day tasks, but when he talks about his time in the service, his eyes light up, his lips quiver. Sometimes it hits him how he’s watched his fellow brothers lose their lives so young, how others have sacrificed so that he was able to come home. I’ve asked my Tata to wear his uniform on a few occasions, and every time he stands with pride, I see the hurt in his eyes that he’s able to be here with his grandchildren, while so many people didn’t have the opportunity to start a family, or even come home to their family. And it’s times like this I witness the breakdown, and can only imagine the thoughts that consume his mind: he came home, many didn’t. I experience this, I witness this, I’m retold the stories, on a daily basis as I’ve taken care of my Tata. 

I’ve never seen war. But I’ve seen the look of war in the eyes of a veteran. And my heart hurts and reaches out to all the families to those whose loved ones never came back home. Veterans, continue to educate the younger generations about how much it has taken to keep us safe and the sacrifices that were made for that to happen. May they be remembered, and never forgotten. 

Photo Credit: Georgia H Photography, thank you so much for capturing this image of a man I respect so much. 

We would not be where we are today as a nation if it were not for the few that gave so much for the many. Americans owe so much to the men and women that serve and have served our country since the beginning. On this Memorial Day, let us not only remember but honor these selfless American heroes and appreciate their service.


The top photograph is from Manchester Cemetery - I think.  The others are from the National Armed Forces Memorial at Alrewas in Staffordshire.

The Memorial would have been considerably busy today with an official Remembrance Sunday Service.  At the 11th Hour a single shaft of light breaks through a gap in the wall and illuminates the central bronze wreath.

Although the central Memorial is outstanding, with the names of everyone from the armed forces that have lost their life in service since 1945, there is a wealth of other monuments within the National Memorial Arboretum.  The arboretum covers some 150 acres and contains over 200 different memorials.

The Memorials cover everything from Royal Army Dental Corps to those Shot at Dawn.

The whole thing is free and only a nominal fee is made for parking.

Well worth a visit.

The Armed Forces Memorial at the National Arboretum in the UK is a monument to those member of the armed forces that have died since 1945.

The memorial consists of a number of panels on which are carved the names of the dead.  Central to the monument are two sculptures by Ian Rank-Broadley.  One of the sculptures (part of which is photographed here) is called The Stretcher Bearers.  It is basically a modern re-working of the classical story of Patroclus who was carried back to camp on the shield of Achilies.

In the sculpture, Patroclus has become the fallen soldier, and the shield has become the stretcher.  

Anyone who has had any sort of involvement with the loss of a family member or friend in armed conflict cannot help but be moved by the sculpture.

Every angle and every view of the sculpture offers up a photographic opportunity, this is one of my favourites.

Originally shot in colour using Fuji Velvia film and a medium format camera, it was a striking image.  However, the removal of colour makes it a poignant reminder to those that have fallen in the service of their country.

A clarification on military holidays for American followers

For those who get the three holidays of Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day mixed up, listen up! Veterans Day is dedicated to those who have served, past tense, in our Armed Forces (that is, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force). Armed Forces Day is used to celebrate and thank those currently serving, present tense, in those same branches of the Armed Forces. And finally, Memorial Day is dedicated to those who have died while in service, been captured by the enemy or have gone Missing In Action.

The last one, coming up on the 30th of this month, is the more somber of the three. Members of the Armed Forces, both active and retired, view this upcoming date as a day of remembrance as it ought to be. The focus should not be on them, but rather their fallen and missing brothers and sisters who have given so much for their country and comrades-in-arms.